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Beet Armyworm Update: Mid-south and Southeast

Richard K. Sprenkel, Tracey A. Austin


The beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua, (Hubner) (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) was first reported in the United States in 1876 from Oregon (Harvey, 1876). From the west coast, it gradually spread eastward, reaching Florida in 1924 (Wilson, 1934). From that time until the early 1960's, populations arising from overwintering individuals in the extreme southern part of the state increased and spread northward each year causing sporadic outbreaks which occurred roughly every 2-5 years (Mitchell, 1979). During the next decade, the beet armyworm was observed to have increased its adaption to cotton and developed resistance to many of the insecticides in use during the period (Poe, et al., 1973). These adaptations plus a combination of environmental factors led to a major outbreak of the beet armyworm on cotton in 1977. Since then, outbreaks have been noted in cotton in 1980, 1981, 1988, 1990 and 1993 (Smith and Freeman, 1994)

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1996 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 111 - 113
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998